Micro-credentials, Open Learning and Transformative Ideas for Higher Education: An Interview with Mark Brown, Keynote Speaker at EdMedia2023

In an interview with AACE, Professor Mark Brown, Ireland’s first Chair in Digital Learning and Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL), discusses the potential of micro-credentials, the adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER), and the impact of AI tools in higher education. Brown highlights the disruptive potential of micro-credentials, which could challenge traditional models of recognition and university qualifications. However, he also acknowledges the likelihood of micro-credentials being supplementary to existing macro-credentials.

He emphasizes the need for educational leaders to consider whether micro-credentials are a good fit for their institution and the strategic drivers behind their adoption. Brown also discusses the barriers to the widespread adoption of OER and Open Pedagogy, citing organizational culture, educators’ traditional mindsets, and the political economy of EdTech as significant factors. He further explores the concept of ‘rewilding’ online education, encouraging educators to push new boundaries at the edge of innovation. Finally, he advises on balancing digital well-being for students and instructors in digital learning environments, emphasizing the importance of a ‘Pedagogy of Care’ and the right to disconnect.

Read the full interview here.

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Innovating Pedagogy 2023: Exploring New Forms of Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The Innovating Pedagogy 2023 report, published by The Open University, explores ten innovations that have the potential to provoke major shifts in educational practice. The report is designed to guide teachers, policymakers, and educational technologists in making informed decisions about new forms of teaching, learning, and assessment.

  1. Learning through Open Data: Open data is publicly available information that can be freely used, modified, and shared. The report suggests that open data can be used as a teaching tool to develop students’ data literacy skills, critical thinking, and understanding of complex issues.
  2. Student-led Analytics: This innovation involves students in the process of collecting, analyzing, and using their own educational data to support their learning. It empowers students to take control of their learning and make informed decisions.
  3. AI Teaching Assistants: AI teaching assistants can provide personalized learning experiences, answer students’ questions, and give feedback on assignments. They can support teachers by taking over routine tasks, allowing teachers to focus on more complex aspects of teaching.
  4. Micro-credentials: Micro-credentials are digital certificates that recognize small amounts of learning or skills. They offer flexible pathways for lifelong learning and can be stacked to form a larger qualification.
  5. Learning through Multisensory Experiences: This approach uses technologies such as virtual and augmented reality to provide immersive learning experiences. It can help students understand complex concepts and develop skills in a safe and controlled environment.
  6. Humanistic Knowledge-Building Communities: These are online communities where learners and teachers collaboratively create knowledge. They foster a sense of belonging and support the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  7. Learning from Robots: Robots can be used in education to support learning in various ways, such as teaching coding or providing social and emotional support to students.
  8. Blockchain for Learning: Blockchain technology can be used to create secure, transparent, and tamper-proof educational records. It can also support the recognition of micro-credentials and facilitate the sharing of learning records across institutions.
  9. Decolonizing Learning: This involves challenging the dominant Eurocentric perspective in education and incorporating diverse knowledge, cultures, and ways of knowing into the curriculum.
  10. Action-Oriented Learning: This approach involves students in real-world problem-solving and social action. It develops skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, and civic engagement.

The report (available here) emphasizes that these innovations are not standalone solutions but should be integrated into a broader pedagogical strategy. It also highlights the importance of considering ethical issues, such as data privacy and the risk of AI bias, when implementing these innovations.

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Making Bach Accessible to Everyone Online

I know not everyone is a fan of classical music. I get it. But you don’t have to be a fan to recognize the impact that music written hundreds of years ago still has on musicians today.

Composers and songwriters still take inspiration from the melodies created by Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, and many more.

Think of the possibilities with your students if you had one place to access all the available performances of someone like Bach.

Now you do. Enter the “All of Bach” project.

Since the start of this unique project, more than 350 of the total of 1080 works by Johann Sebastian Bach have been performed and recorded in special ways. They include some remarkable highlights, such as the St Matthew Passion in the Grote Kerk, in Naarden, the Six Cello Suites at beautiful Amsterdam locations like the Concertgebouw and the Rijksmuseum, and Brandenburg Concerto no. 4 in Felix Meritis, in Amsterdam.

Informative texts, interesting facts and interviews with the performers provide a wealth of background information. All the works are performed by the Netherlands Bach Society and many guest musicians, and you can watch and listen to recordings of the complete works. In personal interviews, the musicians themselves talk about what touches them in the music or why they enjoy playing it so much. In order to keep close to Bach, the recordings are made at suitable venues, but we also look for unusual recording locations. Cantatas are filmed in a church, for instance, and chamber music at the musicians’ homes or at special locations in the Netherlands.


Of course, these works are available for performance by anyone since they are part of the public domain, allowing new generations to experience the work of a master and be inspired to create their own masterpieces.